Application Instructions and Program Rules

Program Description

The annual Real Life Stories Program, presented through the efforts of the nonprofit Life Happens. The program is an important part of Life Happens’ multifaceted public educational awareness program designed to help consumers make smart insurance decisions to safeguard their families’ financial futures. Real Life Stories entries will be selected that best illustrate how insurance, along with the assistance of an insurance professional or licensed team member or insurance company, helped clients get through difficult financial times. These stories will be chosen from the following categories:

  1. Life Insurance – Death Benefits (individual and/or workplace):
    The story should pertain to the real-life experience of a family and/or business whose financial situation was aided by the death benefits provided through the policy(ies) involved.
  2. Disability or Long-Term Care Insurance (individual and/or workplace):
    The story should pertain to the real-life experience of an individual who became disabled or ill or who required long-term care services, but who, thanks to the benefits of insurance, has or had the financial means to maintain his/her quality of life.
  3. Individual Life Insurance – Cash Values or Living Benefits or Critical Illness Rider:
    The story should pertain to the real-life experience of a family and/or business that utilized a policy’s cash values/living benefits/critical illness rider in some way, and may have been aided by a policy’s death benefits as well.
  4. Annuity:
    The story should pertain to the real-life experience of an individual who is currently benefiting from an annuity.


Anyone can submit a story, but it must include an insurance policy (life, disability or long-term care) or annuity to be eligible. It is highly recommended to include the involvement of an active licensed insurance professional or team member in your submission.

How to Enter

To submit an entry, you can fill out the online application form along with a written essay or video submission at: Anyone who submits an entry will receive written notification of confirmation that their entry was received. There is no cost to enter.


Stories will be reviewed and selected by an internal group that may include Life Happens’ staff, all of whom are knowledgeable about the insurance industry. Entries will be deliberated primarily on the compelling nature of the stories and how well they demonstrate the role and value of life, disability, long-term care insurance or annuity. Exceptional service on the part of the agent will also be important. Life Happens reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any entry for any reason, including but not limited to entries Life Happens deems to be inappropriate, offensive, infringing third party rights or is not in keeping with its image. The decisions, based on judging, background checks, and availability to participate in Real Life Stories activities, will be final and binding.

Selectee Participation: There may be one or more stories selected after each deadline. The selected stories (including both the agent and their client) will agree that Life Happens may feature his or her story in a public educational awareness campaign which may include (a) a professionally written story with photography; (b) exclusive video(s) produced; (c) social-media graphics; (d) possible public speaking presentation (such as in-person meeting or virtual webinar); and (e) other collateral for the educational awareness campaign.

Taxes: Each selected agent and client shall be responsible for paying all federal, state, and local income and other applicable taxes that may be due in connection with their participation.


The essay or video portion of all entries must be original. The story should involve a claim being paid and/or benefits accessed at some point during the past ten years. All stories should include the involvement of a licensed insurance professional or team member. Life Happens reserves the right to edit submissions for length and style. The clients and all others depicted in the chosen Real Life Stories program will be required to sign consent and release forms allowing their full names and story to be publicized without further compensation, unless prohibited by law. Recipients also will be required to sign a liability release and affidavit of eligibility. If an agent or client does not provide Life Happens with the necessary consent and release forms within five (5) business days following notification of having been chosen, an alternate recipient will be selected. All submissions become the property of Life Happens. Incomplete, illegible, mutilated or improperly transmitted entries will be deemed null and void. Life Happens also reserves the right to publicize stories in national, regional and local media outlets at its sole discretion.

For any questions, please contact Connor Dolby at


Entries are collected year around. The new extended submission deadline is December 31, 2024.

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